Elbow have come a long way since their formation in the early ’90s. A handful of albums went by almost unnoticed before 2008’s The Seldom Seen Kid put them on the musical map. Now, the band returns with self-produced seventh album Little Fictions.
Opener Magnificent (She Says) is typical Elbow. Bright organ, a straight-edge drum beat and unified string sections are to be expected, as is Guy Garvey’s warm melodic voice, which meanders effortlessly over the top. The descending synth that runs throughout is the only noticeable change to the formula, whereas Gentle Storm feels far sparser. Centred around a robotic beat and ringing piano chords is Garvey’s emotional refrain: “Fall in love with me, every day”.
Repetitive drum patterns appear to be at the forefront of this album, from the scratchy Beck rhythms of Trust The Sun, to the catchy dry beat of Firebrand & Angel, each layered with interesting textures. Most striking is the title track – a rolling breakbeat comes in after a gothic piano intro before a scatty jazz section, and a frantic oscillating string ending. This injects a bit of life into the album, showing the band at their most experimental and dynamic.
Little Fictions is another production masterclass from Elbow, although the emphasis on rhythm and Garvey’s voice make the other instruments to often sounding subdued. The inclusion of choirs in All Disco and Head For Supplies sadly are indicative of the overall album – slightly predictable.
Edited by Sam Gusway